Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Remember Your Why


I had a bit of an epiphany last week.

Before I get to that, let me give you a rundown of my semester. The biggest factor is that I'd been losing my focus in the midst of the slog of the day-to-day, 90% "and other duties as required," nuts-and-bolts existence of  being a library director. Beyond that, there's also the fact that I went to ACRL and had a great time, but I came away with not a little envy for the important research and writing so many of my colleagues are doing. Don't get me wrong: I'm still passionately committed to the role that my blog plays. There is a huge need for giving and sharing practical advice that is still based solidly on experience and research, but I am sometimes envious of the people doing that research.

I know the end of the semester is a wearing time for anyone, and we've had our share of challenges in my library. Last week I finally made myself sit down to do a bunch of small tasks, like filing and making sure my budget tracking spreadsheets are up-to-date. After spending a couple of hours like that, I was feeling especially bedraggled, so I decided to take a break for a little professional reading. As it turns out, this was exactly what I needed.

After catching up on a few blog posts, I decided to revisit The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. This isn't a book review, but I wanted to cite the source of the spark for a series of thoughts that resulted in a series of tweets. 

Like I said, this isn't a book review, but it's important you know the general idea from the passages in the Achor book. The part I revisited was mostly about how, if we can keep our "why" in mind, all the noise and nonsense is worth it. Heck, even the never-ending stream of listserv "unsubscribe" requests can become bearable if it's seen in the right light. And that brought me back to the fact that libraries are about educating our patrons how to educate themselves. In the teensy academic library where I'm the director, that means the students. And that's the moment I started to tweet about it.

And I'm not the only one who has this focus:

It can be easy to lose this focus. I wouldn't be writing this if I hadn't lost and then found mine again. Each of us are in this field for a reason. Maybe take a moment and write it down on a sticky note like I did. Remembering that it's about our students can even help you handle misery-inducing hours-long all-campus meetings with equanimity.

How do you keep your focus? How do you keep hold of your "why"?

1 comment:

  1. So true, and so important. Thanks for the reminder. This works in our personal lives as well. "It's not always all about ME!"